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Open Source Media

Open Source Media Manifesto

We hold free expression and public commentary to be fundamental to living in a democracy. If we are going to have the public education and free elections, then everyone must be able to express themselves and publicly critique each others views.

In the digital era, free expression and public critique is both easier and harder than in the past with print media. In the digital world, free expression means posting text, audio, and video on the Internet for others to see. Free services exist for those that want to post text, but audio and video pose cost constraints that only the professionals can afford. Furthermore, public critique requires an ability to refer to and quote other's comments, and then add commentary around these quotations. Again, this is easy in the text world of the World Wide Web through hypertext links, but audio and video are not yet easy because of a lack of tools to easily quote from these sources. "Deep linking" into video is possible in theory but not in practice.

We propose a set of tools and services to build this world. Fortunately, this is very close to what the Open Source Movement is all about: Anyone can be a publisher, all open source material is free to be reused, and a community that encourages this reuse. Therefore applying the Open Source ideas to Media is our ancient tradition re-expressedin the digital world.

Therefore Open Source Media is born.

We propose to use the US Presidential Election of 2004 as a target platform to focus the tools and services efforts associated with Open Source Media:

  • Free expression: Record and post all campaign appearances, interviews, and promotional material from all campaigns in public Internet Libraries.
  • Tools for commentary: build tools to allow "deep linking" into all text, audio, and video. Blogging and social networking are part of this.
  • Public commentary: would be open to all by supplying the storage and bandwidth for those entering the discussion.

We need help to organize the tool development and data collection, and most importantly thoughtful commentary to show the power of this way of living an informed life.

I feel that this idea is arising in many places at once. People in the last week that have mentioned parts of this independently:

  • Brad deGraf, Venture Collective, fundraising
  • Brewster Kahle, Internet Archive: offers infinite storage and infinite bandwidth for free for this project.
  • Eric Martiz, cable tv channel possibility
  • Mark Graham, Institute for Global Communications: tools
  • Program directors from Pacifica Radio
  • Roger MacDonald,, video holdings, fundraising
  • Tim O'Reilly , Publisher
  • Zane Vella, tools, production, creative direction
  • Working together through the Open Source tools and and techniques we can bring thorough coverage of the election and insightful commentary to anyone with an Internet connection. We hope that journalists would then leverage these materials to bring Open Source Media to a larger audience through traditional paper, radio, and television outlets.

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